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Gary Andersen Introduced To Beaver Nation

Gary Andersen, complete with an Oregon State tie and Beaver pin, met Beaver Nation for the first time today.
Gary Andersen, complete with an Oregon State tie and Beaver pin, met Beaver Nation for the first time today.
(Image by Andy Wooldridge)

New Oregon St. head football coach was introduced to Beaver Nation this afternoon, complete with the full repertoire of Oregon St. pregame fanfare, courtesy of the OSU Marching Band, Cheerleaders, and Benny. The first order of business was the presentation of a framed "Dam Loyal" rally towel, from the Beaver Dam, who, as one of them explained, literally, will be behind him all the way, due to the student section being right behind the team bench.

And an Orange game helmet (not sure if Larry Scott or Tanner Sanders will have to get a new helmet) #15 that Andersen signed was presented to Oregon St. President Ed Ray (Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis explained that was in case an opponent does bring their "A" game, in response to President Ray's comment on Wednesday that if an opponent brings their "B" game to Reser, they will get their butt whipped.)

Things settled down a little after that, and Coach Andersen made an introductory statement of some length, and answered some questions, which we can glean a number of things from.

Regarding his preferred offense, he said it would feature passes short and deep, and side to side, and a running game that will go up the middle, and also get to the edges.

"We will stretch the field vertically and horizontally," Andersen explained. "And the opponent must account for our quarterback in in 3 ways, with his arm, his legs, and his mind."

Andersen actually stressed defense first in his remarks, not surprising, given his background is primarily on that side of the ball, saying "We are a defensive team."

As far as defensive scheme goes, his said "When people ask if we are an odd or even front, I say 'We are both.' because there are situations where both are necessary."

Andersen summed up his approach as "Use the players you have to be the best team you can be. We want to offensively run wide open, and at pace, but the key is get the best players on the field."

Andersen also addressed some of the questions around his unexpected hiring, confirming that as we've previously reported, he met with DeCarolis and Ray on Tuesday, and accepted the job Wednesday. He acknowledged that it is a "great" move for his family, but did say that family was not a driving force behind the move, as has been speculated.

He also discounted concerns about Wisconsin admission standards, which are actually very similar to Oregon St.'s (though those of many of the direct competitors in the Pac-12 may not place Oregon St. at as much of a relative disadvantage as some in the midwest did to Wisconsin).

Andersen said he did not visit campus first, and was only here once, as an assistant with an opposing team, "and we didn't win." (Oregon St. beat Utah 24-7 in the 2007 season opener.)

Andersen said he will meet with the remaining existing coaches, and is still talking with some of his prior staff of assistants at Wisconsin, and hopes to have some names and assignments to announce early to mid next week.

Several players, Jordan Villamin, Cyril Noland-Lewis, and Dustin Stanton included, as well as current DB coach Rod Perry and GA Keaton Kristic were at the press conference.

With finals concluding today, and some players having already finished and left campus, Andersen said he will have the first full team meeting after Christmas break, but as soon as the team returns. At that time, his concept for a student/player council will be presented, and leaders elected.

Andersen also said he has been and will be in contact with existing commits (a dead period begins shortly), and said it will be a case by case basis as far as recruits he had commits from to Wisconsin, noting in some cases, kids are committed to the local school, and he would leave that alone, whereas others may be committed more based on relationships.

The question of practice access also arose, something former coach Mike Riley encouraged by having all practices open to all. Andersen said "We can trust Beaver fans; can we trust the media?"

After the laughter, and an invitation for the media to put together a team to compete with some of the sororities during half time of the spring game, Andersen explained that he believes in open practices, but "maybe not every one in certain weeks", protecting his options in certain circumstances.

Generally, it sounds like we won't be in the Duck world of no visibility of the team outside of game day though.

Overall, Andersen was in command of the press conference, yet seemed comfortable with the questions, even some that weren't totally softballs.

Here's a replay:

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com